6 Reasons Symbiosis is the Ultimate Gathering for Modern Shamans

I’ve been going to Symbiosis Gathering for years; Symbiosis and Burning Man are the 2 transformative festivals that have had the most powerful impact in shaping who I am and defining my culture. Whether it’s through discovering new favorite musicians, or being mesmerized by the incredible light shows emanating from beautifully-designed stages, to being astounded by the visionary art that reminds me of other dimensions I’ve visited to exploring new ways of being presented by cutting edge transformational speakers, Symbiosis has, for me been a cultural epicenter for the modern shaman.


CHECK OUT Episode 24 Can Burning Man Change the World?

What Does It Mean To Be a Modern Shaman?

Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world. A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.

A modern shaman is a person who is able to regularly visit the Spirit World and non-ordinary states of consciousness, and uses the the wisdom, insight and power accessed in these states to transform society and heal the planet.


What is Symbiosis Gathering?

Symbiosis Gathering is an annual conscious music and arts festival that takes place in the West Coast, mostly in California. The Symbiosis experience, defined by cutting edge musical and art programming, includes countless art installations and multiple collectives of live painters, forward thinking musical acts spread across distinctly varied stages, plus a first of its kind art boat program. Symbiosis Gathering: Family Tree 2016 will not only be a time for celebrating the reunion of families and memories from past years, but will serve as a precursor for what may be the burgeoning brand’s most important event to date: Symbiosis Gathering Oregon Eclipse 2017.

Symbiosis Gathering an event with a strong focus on environmental sustainability, indigenous wisdom and ancient ritual, transformational workshops, in addition to visionary art and music. Here’s why you want to go to Symbiosis if you consider yourself to be a modern shaman.

1. Attend Speakshops with Leading Shamanic Scholars

I am beside myself with excitement to hear some of my favorite speakers present talks at Sybmiosis, people like National Geographic anthropologist Wade Davis, Indian author and environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva, and indigenous activist Winona LaDuke.

The Symbiosis Gathering Speakshops and Luminaries series draw on some of the principal mentors and masters from a range of studies like environmental and political activism, food security, permaculture, lucid dreaming, and emergent technology to offer insightful guided discussions and lectures across the five days of the event. These talks and presentations offer the Symbiosis community the opportunity to fully embrace the ethos of the event in a constructive and immersive environment.


Other headlining presenters include Rising Appalachia’s Leah Song together with Jasmine Fuego of the Permaculture Action Network, TECHGNOSIS author Erik Davis, visionary dream group Oneironauticum founder Jennifer Dumpert, shaman scholar Mateo Magee, intentional communities advocate Cassandra Ferrara, and ecological consultant Meghan Walla-Murphy. Additional discussions will explore facets of hacking, permaculture, space research, along with many more intriguing topics.

2. Learn Elemental Alchemy

One of the things I most love about Symbiosis is that it’s immersive and experiential. If you really want to immerse yourself in new ancient ideas, you may want to participate in the Elemental Alchemy program. Taking place in the week leading up to ‘Family Tree’, Elemental Alchemy is an immersive educational program that in past years has brought together trailblazers in Permaculture, Yoga, and Visionary Art to lead intimate multi-day workshops. Here’s a video of their 2015 Immersive Elemental Alchemy Series.

3. Practice Ancestral Arts and Ritual & Performance

One of the things I most appreciate about Symbiosis Gathering is the abundance of beautifully created sacred spaces…with ritual happening.


Because if you are a modern shaman, sometimes you just want to take a break from the amazing music and epic psychedelic light shows and simply tune into the Earth. Drink some tea. Listen to sufi music and watch belly dancers. Warm yourself by a sacred fire that is cared for by indigenous elders and tended day and night by dedicated fire keepers whose relationship with this element is both a calling and spiritual path.


And if you find all of that fascinating and want to explore what ritual arts even further, then you will want to check out their Ancestral Arts and Ritual & Performance program, which offers new avenues for participants to engage in the universe around them.

4. Experience Psychedelic Sound Journeys to Other Realms

Did you know that the EntheoNation visionary artists and musicians are part of the Symbiosis Family? That’s right. If you enjoy our Medicine Music for the Soul, and our curated Music You Can Trip To tracks on the EntheoNation YouTube Channel, then you can enjoy these musicians live at Symbiosis Gathering.

Live spectacles from FKA Twigs, Gramatik, Santigold, Ta-Ku, Warpaint, Balkan Beat Box, FKJ, Hundred Waters, Oh Wonder, and Rising Appalachia will be joined by global purveyors of the underground Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, Lee Foss, Pan-Pot, Seth Troxler, and Shiba San, plus bass-heavy performances by RL Grime, Beats Antique, Gaslamp Killer, Opiuo, Ott & The All-Seeing I and many more.


5. Appreciate Visionary Art That Reminds You of the Last Time You Did Ayahuasca

If you are a fan of visionary art like I am, this is the best place to see all your favorite artists in one place. A crux of Symbiosis Gathering is its arts curation, the event gives creators from around the world a chance to showcase their talents and contribute to an awe-inspiring environment.

Anderson Debernardi, visionary artist from Peru, will be doing live painting at Symbiosis Family Tree. Check out his amazing ayahuasca inspired visions at the art gallery.

Anderson Debernardi, ayahuasca inspired visionary artist, will be doing live painting at Symbiosis

Anderson Debernardi, ayahuasca inspired visionary artist, will be doing live painting at Symbiosis 2016

2015 saw the maiden voyage of Symbiosis’ Art Boat programming, which provided totally unique aquatic dance parties aboard interactive crafts, and the magical sight of a Delorean hovercraft performing donuts at sunset.

Terrestrial art installations are also a pillar at Symbiosis, from delicate mandalas, larger than life structures for climbing and exploring, architectural stage designs, fire sculptures and even temporary art galleries.

Here’s a tour of the visionary art gallery from Symbiosis 2015.

The fusion of visual art, music and the natural landscape, has earned Symbiosis a reputation as a hotbed for creative growth and expression.

6. Become an Advocate for the Earth

It’s really hard to go to an event of this caliber and not emerged transformed in some way. Symbiosis Gathering is an immersive and subversive alternative to the corporatized festival experience, offering a multi-disciplinary experience for the senses. Attendees can wander between six lakeside stages, swim between art boats, learn from visionaries in permaculture, yoga, and design, enjoy organic food or simply get lost in the multitude of interactive environments.

Unless you are completely oblivious, at the most basic level you will learn about how to lighten your ecological footprint simply because the event itself is designed to minimize environmental impact. But why not go deeper?

Why not acquire the tools and knowledge being offered at Symbiosis Gathering to become an advocate of the Earth in your community?

Check out what’s waiting for you at Symbiosis Gathering Family Tree.

More Information About Symbiosis Gathering

Check out the list of Symbiosis Workshops here.

RSVP for Symbiosis here.

Get your Symbiosis tickets here.

Image Credits

Anderson Debernardi Art

Symbiosis Gathering: The Making of a Festival

The People of Symbiosis Gathering

Symbiosis: A Semi-Annual Gathering

Christine Peterson Photography


About Lorna Liana

Lorna Liana is a new media strategist and lifestyle business coach to visionary entrepreneurs. She travels the world while running her business as a digital nomad. Lorna's boutique agency provides “done for you” web design, development and online marketing services for social ventures, sustainable brands, transformational coaches and new paradigm thought leaders. She is also a personal development junkie, and 20 year practitioner of shamanism, with extensive training in Tibetan Bon Shamanism and the ayahuasca traditions of the Amazon Basin. A self-professed ayahuasca snob and perennial ayahuasca tourist, Lorna has been drinking ayahuasca since 2004. She's been in approximately 150 ayahuasca ceremonies (from terrible to fantastic), and tasted wide variety of ayahuasca brews (from awful to exquisite). Her ayahuasca experience spans 30+ different shamans and facilitators, 7 indigenous tribes, several Brazilian churches, and a host of neo-shamanic circles, in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Europe, the US, and Asia. Through this widely-varied background, she hopes to shed some perspective on the globalization of ayahuasca.

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